How Many People Will Live in Africa in 2050 and 2100?

Large declines in fertility will depend on raising female literacy above 80%.

Every few years, the United Nations Population Division releases demographic projections for the entire world and for every country, region and continent. Although the UN’s database is the most used source on demographics, the data is not equally reliable for all countries.

Countries in the developed world conduct regular censuses and produce detailed numbers that are considered reliable. Less developed countries conduct censuses on an irregular basis or are completely unable to conduct them and have instead to rely on demographic sampling. In the poorest countries of the world, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, censuses are infrequent or nonexistent and even sampling can be irregular and unreliable. Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Analysis and Opinion, Asia, China, Demographics, Economy, Education, Emerging Markets, Family Planning, India, Investment, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Sub-Saharan, Uganda, United Nations, Urbanization, World Bank | Leave a comment

China’s Demographics at a Turning Point

For decades, the decline in China’s birth rate was a big boost for the economy. What now?

This week, schadenfreude could have been a word invented for China experts if you judge by some of the commentary surrounding the country’s lifting of its one-child policy. Most got it right that the legacy of the one-child policy is now a problem for the Chinese economy because of a rapidly rising old-age dependency ratio (green line in the first chart below). This was tacitly acknowledged by the lifting of the policy. Continue reading

Posted in BRIC countries, China, Demographics, Dependency Ratio, Economy, Emerging Markets, Family Planning, India | Leave a comment

Report: Africa’s Demographic Transition, Dividend or Disaster?

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 1.53.28 PMA recent report published jointly by the World Bank and by Agence Française de Développement highlights the challenge of realizing Africa’s promised demographic dividend. The title Africa’s Demographic Transition: Dividend or Disaster? (see footnote 1) sums up the authors’ thesis that the dividend is not an automatic result of falling fertility ratios (TFR).

Instead, falling TFRs open a window of opportunity which can lead to a demographic dividend when governments and the public sector implement the requisite steps to capitalize on this opportunity. Lower child mortality usually leads to falling fertility ratios and improvements in women’s health. But most important among concurrent or subsequent initiatives are investments in education, and the provision of sufficient jobs to a booming working-age population. Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Botswana, Demographics, DR Congo, Economy, Emerging Markets, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Society, South Africa, Sub-Saharan, Tanzania, World Bank | Leave a comment

Conference Brief: ‘The Modi-fication of the Indian Economy’

As discussed several times on this page, India’s demographics and drive for reforms have the potential to significantly accelerate its economic growth in the next decade. It was timely therefore that Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, in partnership with Northeastern University, should host an India conference this week on The Modi-fication of the Indian Economy. Continue reading

Posted in BRIC countries, Economy, India, Infrastructure, Society | Leave a comment

Now a Trade Partnership with Africa?

A few days ago, the United States reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with eleven other nations (see list in tables below). Here is how the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) describes the TPP on its web page:

President Obama’s trade agenda is dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses. That’s why we are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 21st century trade agreement that will boost U.S. economic growth, support American jobs, and grow Made-in-America exports to some of the most dynamic and fastest growing countries in the world.

Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Demographics, Dependency Ratio, Economy, Emerging Markets, Investment, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, Singapore, Sub-Saharan, Tanzania, Trade, United States, US Economy, Vietnam | Leave a comment

Working Age Population Around the World 1960-2050

A fast growing economy usually requires a growing working-age population.  It is informative in this regard to look at the size of the working-age population (wap) for different regions and countries of the world.

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 1.05.48 PM

This data, compiled from the UN’s World Population Prospects – the 2015 Revision, tells us the following: Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Brazil, China, Demographics, Economy, Emerging Markets, Europe, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Sub-Saharan, United Kingdom, United States | Leave a comment

Providing Electricity to Africa by 2050

How many Africans will have access to electricity by 2050?

According to the World Bank’s latest figures, 64.6% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lacked access to electricity in 2012, or a total of 572 million people. Across the world, 1.09 billion have no access to electricity. So, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for more than half the total.

Given the expected boom in the African population and the likely increase in access, the demand for electricity infrastructure is going to explode between now and 2050. On UN estimates (medium variant), the sub-Saharan population will jump from 886 million in 2012 to 2.1 billion in 2050. Assuming that each country’s current access rate remains the same, 381 million additional people will have access to electricity and 855 million additional people will not. Continue reading

Posted in Africa, China, Demographics, Economy, Emerging Markets, India, Infrastructure, Investment, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Sub-Saharan | Leave a comment

The Candidates’ Other Demographic Challenge

It is massively larger than 11 million illegals.

Hans Rosling, co-founder of Gapminder, calls it “the biggest change of our time”. It is Africa’s population growth from 1 billion people today to 2.5 billion by 2050 and 4 billion by 2100.

You could say that a close “second biggest change of our time” is the aging and stagnation of the population in rich countries. The combined population of North America, Europe, Japan and Australia/New Zealand is now at 1.3 billion and it will remain at 1.3 billion by 2050 and 2100 with small gains in North America and Oceania offset by declines in Europe and Japan. Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Candidates, Africa, Demographics, Dependency Ratio, Economy, Emerging Markets, Europe, Immigration, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Politics, Poverty, Russia, United States, US Economy | Leave a comment

UN Population Prospects: 2015 vs. 2010

The 2015 Revision of the UN’s World Population Prospects estimates a global 2050 population of 9.7 billion people. That is 420 million more than the UN had estimated as recently as 2010. The incremental rise comes from higher estimates for all continents, especially Africa which goes from 2.2 billion to 2.5 billion. Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Demographics, Europe, United Nations | Leave a comment

New populyst Website

populyst is evolving into more than a blog. In line with this evolution, we rolled out the new populyst index website. Please visit the site at and sign up as a member for free access. Continue reading

Posted in Economy | Leave a comment